Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Japan whips Tennessee in LLWS final

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SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Noriatsu Osaka hit three homers and tripled, and Japan limited Tennessee's potent lineup to two hits in a 12-2 victory Sunday in the Little League World Series title game.

Starter Kotaro Kiyomiya struck out eight in four innings and added an RBI single for the boys from Tokyo. The game ended in the fifth after Osaka's third homer made it a 10-run game.

A day after pounding out a 24-16 win over California in the U.S. title game, the Goodlettsville, Tenn., sluggers could only muster two hits -- solo shots by Brock Myers and Lorenzo Butler.

The teams exchanged the customary postgame handshakes at the plate before Japan received the World Series championship banner and took the traditional victory lap around Lamade Stadium.

Carrying the flags of Japan and the United States with wide smiles on their faces, the players finally stopped in front of Japan's giddy cheering section as proud family members and friends stood shoulder-to-shoulder to take pictures through the infield fence.

There were many highlights, including five home runs off Tennessee pitching. Rintaro Hirano's three-run shot made it 10-1 in the fourth.

That was more than enough offence for 13-year-old ace Kiyomiya, who had a fastball clocked in the high-70s, The right-hander with the hitch in mid-delivery pitched like a big-league ace in allowing just one hit.

Regardless, this is still a banner year for Goodlettsville after its exhausting victory Saturday over Petaluma, Calif., for the U.S. championship. That game set a record for most combined runs in the World Series.

The thrilling victory kept the Tennessee players and their families up late into the night.

"We knew we would be flat today -- their parents and these kids," manager Joey Hale said.

Tennessee lost a 10-run lead in the bottom of the sixth before scoring nine times the next inning to finally put away Petaluma in a Little League classic. Even more impressively, Butler had three homers and a record nine RBIs.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 27, 2012 C5

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